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Recipients of Carthage's 2024 Martin Luther King Jr. Legacy Awards included (first row, from left... Recipients of Carthage's 2024 Martin Luther King Jr. Legacy Awards included (first row, from left) Grace Chapa ’24, Professor Nancy Reese, and Debbie Clark. Family members accepted on behalf of Julia Peters ’24, the late Al-Haj Jameel Ghuari, and Katherine Marks ’01. Not pictured is a third student honoree, Abby Davidson ’25.

Celebrating the legacy of the civil rights leader in a new way, the Office of Equity and Inclusion honored seven members of the Carthage and surrounding communities who embody the teachings of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

The first Martin Luther King Jr. Legacy Awards took place in A. F. Siebert Chapel on Jan. 15, the 2024 date for the federal holiday in his honor. The presentation was one of several service-oriented events held on campus during the week.

Meet the Legacy Award recipients:


Grace Chapa

Grace Chapa ?24 Grace Chapa ’24 is the marketing chair and former president of Mi Gente, a campus organization that educates students about Hispanic culture. As a volunteer with the nonprofit Kenosha Creative Space, she also teaches salsa and bachata dance classes. And Grace works for the College’s unique Urban Teacher Preparatory Program.

“Grace is, to the core of her being, about equity, access, and justice, apparent in her coursework, where she interrogates injustices and inequities,” the nomination read. “She is deeply passionate about serving communities that have been overlooked … Grace embodies the passions of MLK in all she does.”

Abby Davidson

Abigail Davidson ?25 A member of the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, Abby Davidson ’25 founded the Native American Student Association at Carthage and serves as its president. She’s also heavily involved in other student groups, including 1G (the First-Generation Club), Black Student Union, and United Women of Color.

“Abby is proud of her own indigenous heritage and is willing to share her experiences with others through the programming she plans, speaking at Interfaith Lunch, and writing articles for local newspapers,” the nomination read. “She also embraces other cultures and is a voice for equity on our campus and in our community.”

Julia Peters – DEI Excellence Award

The Black Gala: Julia Peters ?24 Since freshman year, Julia Peters ’24 has been an indispensable student employee in the Engagement and Inclusion Center, improving the college experience for first-generation students and others from underrepresented groups. Additionally, Julia serves as president of LGBTQ SA.

“Julia’s true personality, friendly disposition, and rectitude garner positive attention from peers, faculty, staff, and administrators. She projects profound decency and understanding when connecting with people,” the nomination read. “Julia’s dedication to caring for others and commitment to service, justice, and uplifting the community will help Carthage live up to its mission.”


Debbie Clark

A longtime administrative assistant in the Center for Faith and Spirituality, Debbie Clark develops and implements service projects. She manages a free supplementary meal station for students known as Luther’s Lunchbox, as well as the campus-wide holiday giving tree. Through donation drives and other initiatives, she connects the Carthage community to local nonprofits.

“Debbie has a heart for children and the community,” the nomination read. “She is amazing and has a heart of gold. She always greets me with a smile. Debbie is clearly doing God’s work of serving others and is a true example of a community leader.”

Nancy Reese

Mission and ministry are key to the life of Nancy Reese, Carthage’s director of nursing. She started a J-Term study tour to Honduras, introducing students to a portable medical brigade she has led more than 15 times. Closer to home, she has provided training for church caregivers, assisted health departments, and volunteered with the Medical Reserve Corps.

“I greatly admire and, to the best I can, look to emulate Nancy’s great humility, integrity, work ethic, and commitment,” the nomination read. “Her positive energy and enthusiasm is infectious and has had a profound impact on me.”


Al-Haj Jameel Ghuari

This posthumous award honors Al-Haj Jameel Ghuari, who passed away in October after decades as a community activist, athletic coach, and mentor to many in Racine. He devoted nearly 25 years to the George Bray Neighborhood Center as executive director, teaching the game of basketball while providing a safe haven for marginalized youths.

Katherine Marks

Elected to the City Council in 1992, Katherine Marks ’01 became the first Black woman to hold public office in Kenosha. Now the city’s community outreach coordinator, Ms. Marks championed the soon-to-open Kenosha Emerging Leaders Academy. She has served on the boards of numerous local agencies and nonprofits.